Higher Education

The development of a new scientific discipline requires focused education of young scientists engaged in the new discipline

Faculty, staff, graduate student and post-doctoral researchers from all of the U.S. and SoilTrEC CZOs mingle along a roadside in the White Mountains of Crete during a joint meeting and field trip hosted by the Technical University of Crete and Koiliaris CZO during September 2008.

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The most successful of these education activities has been the CZO International Scholars program. Through support from NSF-International Programs-Europe since 2007, 54 graduate students within and outside of the CZOs from 16 universities througout the United States have visited more than 20 European host institutions and field sites. In the process, the student travelers have broadened their scientific knowledge and perspective, availed of unique expertise and instrumentation not available in the U.S., and generated data sets to compare to information gathered from field sites and labs at or associated with the various U.S. CZOs. A compilation of abstracts and papers derived in whole or in part from this support is available under associated files (see below). The program will continue in 2015 through 2019 due to funds provided to the CZO National Office from an NSF Science Across Virtual Institutes grant.

A group of six CZO collaborators are currently working to develop a new undergraduate curriculum in Critical Zone science. Their effort is supported by the NSF-funded InTeGrate program and aims to develop a new semester-long course comprised of stand-alone, ~two-week long modules. The course has been fully developed and moved into the testing phase at 6 universites - in 2015 that course content will be available on the SERC website and here for anyone to use in their courses.

Tim White, as national coordinator, and Susan Gill, Stroud Water Research Center education director, developed a successful Research Experience for Undergraduates program that places 6 undergraduate students each at the Christina River Basin and Shale Hills CZOs during the summers of 2014 through 2016. The results of those REUs were presented at the 2014 biennial meeting of CUAHSI entitled Water Across the Critical Zone, and will soon be available for download here.

The higher education program has also been enriched by close CZO ties to its European counterpart, Soil Transformations in European Catchments (SoilTrEC), a research initiative that includes 4 CZOs in Europe. Each year SoilTrEC stages a variety of graduate student and post-doctoral research training workshops and meetings and graciously invites U.S. students and other participants, while the U.S. NSF has provided funds to support limited participation in some of those workshops. Most recently, 14 U.S. students, half from within and half from outside the formal CZO program, participated in a reactive transport modeling workshop held at the Technical University of Crete in July 2012.

Georg Lair, Manos Kotronakis, and Taru Lehtinen in Crete, October 2012.

U.S CZOs have also hosted European graduate students and post-doctoral researchers for training events. Here three graduates of the 2010 Critical Zone field school held at the Susquehanna-Shale Hills CZO, Georg Lair, Manos Kotronakis, and Taru Lehtinen, share a moment together in Crete at the annual meeting of SoilTrEC, October 2012.

Georg Lair, Manos Kotronakis, and Taru Lehtinen in Crete, October 2012.

Associated Files

(88 KB pdf)
List of abstracts and publications derived from International Scholars funding provided by the US NSF.


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